Driving for work is considered one of the most dangerous occupation. And as a result, it is important to support and train drivers to reduce risks which can increase the dangers of driving.
One way to do this is to have robust policies and procedures relating to driving for work in place across your business.
What are driver policies and procedures?
Driver policies and procedures are clear, easy to understand and unambiguous documents which set out rules, legislation, penalties and areas of responsibility in relation to driving for work.
Driving policies and procedures should be used to promote road safety, train your drivers and help them understand road rules and legislation in order to minimise behaviours which create road risk.
Studies show that the majority of drivers and employers in the UK, do not actually know the driving legislation or the penalties they could incur for committing a driving violation. This is an issue your driver policies and procedures should look to resolve.
Why must you have driver policies in place?
You have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for people who drive for a living. This can be achieved through thorough assessments, education, training and evidencing of this focus on risk management.
Regulation and Legislation
There will be many legal and regulatory obligations you need to meet as an employer.
Amongst others these include:
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) states ‘you must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. You must also ensure that others are not put at risk by your work-related driving activities.’
This document includes more detail on managing work related road risk.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require you to manage health and safety effectively. This includes carrying out assessments of the risks to the health and safety of your employees, while they are at work, and to other people who may be affected by your organisation’s work activities
Having policies and procedures in place will help you fulfil some of the legal and regulatory obligations that you have as an employer.
If you cannot evidence that you have looked to manage health and safety of your employees or taken steps to minimise risk, your business or responsible individuals can face prosecution, fines or imprisonment if one of your drivers is involved in a serious incident.
Insurance and risk management
Risk management and insurance are interlinked. Particularly if you run a fleet of vehicles or HGV’s.
Insurers are getting more selective about who they want to insure, with risk selection and risk management of key importance. COVID-19 has created challenging conditions and is likely to put more pressure on this.
Insurers are increasingly demanding more evidence of how businesses manage risk themselves. So the more evidence that you can provide which details that you take risk management seriously – policies and procedures, staff hand book, structured training programmes – then the better chance your broker will have of presenting your business in a way which puts you in the best position to gain the right insurance solution for your business.
What policies and procedures should fleet managers have in place for drivers?
Fleet managers should put in place a wide range of driver policies and procedures which drivers are thoroughly trained on in order to meet your duty of care, regulatory and legal requirements.
Areas to consider producing separate policies for include:
Do your drivers understand the road rules relating to speed and the risks related to speeding? What the penalties are for being caught speeding or sentencing guidelines relating to offences of dangerous driving? These are all areas a speeding policy should cover and educate on.
Mobile phone use and distracted driving
Given the risks associated with distracted driving and increasing use of mobile technology, you must implement a mobile phone use policy.
Do your drivers understand the legal rules around mobile phone use behind the wheel? Do your drivers understand what ‘use’ of a mobile phone refers to – making calls, using apps checking a text and selecting a playlist. And that ‘driving’ includes use of a mobile whilst sitting stationary in traffic with your engine running?
What is your policy on use of hands-free technology?
And what are the consequences of being involved in an accident whilst using a mobile device or being otherwise distracted?
A drink driving policy should educate on the risks and penalties of drink driving as well as the severe outcomes of driving when over the limit. Ensure drivers are aware of a zero tolerance to drink driving policy which operate across your business.
With news that drug driving is becoming more prevalent than drink driving, a drug driving policy must be implemented across your business. It should cover both illegal drugs as well as the risks of prescription drugs in impairing driving ability.
As with drink driving, a zero-tolerance drug driving policy approach is advisable for those who employ people to drive for a living. The risks associated with drug driving are severe and the likelihood of causing significant harm are increased when HGV or large vehicles are involved.
Health and medical conditions
Drivers must understand that they need to be fit and well to drive. And that it is not possible to drive safely with some medical and health conditions
A clear, easy to understand fitness to drive policy which steps out when and why medical conditions need to be reported, can help mitigate the risks of medical conditions going unreported and the associated risks to both the individual, other road users and the business.
Authority to drive
As an employer, you will need to provide authority for employees to drive for work. Before providing this authority, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that drivers meet certain minimum standards. This extends to any grey fleet drivers that you may have in your business.
An authority to drive policy should cover all of these requirements and ensure that managers or whoever is responsible for granting authority to drive to employees is fully trained and complies with your policy. Authority to drive should not be provided if the criteria included in your policy are not met.
As rules and regulations relating to new drivers (those who have passed their driving test within the last two years) differ from those for drivers who have held their licence for longer, there is value in having a specific new drivers’ policy.
How often should your driver policies be reviewed?
Your driver policies should be reviewed on a relatively regular basis to ensure that they are still relevant, that they reflect current regulatory guidance and are in line with any relevant legislation.
Exactly how often you carry out reviews will depend on the policy and detail included. If for example, sentencing guidelines relating to drink and drug driving offences are updated then you will want to reflect this in your drink and drug driving policies.
It is probably a good idea to review your policies on an annual basis as standard. And then to keep on top of changes which may affect your policies, take a risk-based approach and update them if anything does come up in the interim period.
It is also vital to train your drivers on your truck driver policies. Both when they start working for your company and as a part of your ongoing training programme. Training should not be underestimated. It is not enough to produce policies and procedures. If an incident were to happen involving one of your drivers, you would need to be able to evidence that sufficient risk management training had taken place.
At Anthony Jones we see risk management as a vital part of the service that we provide. We work closely with DAC Beachcroft, our legal partner to provide a legal representation in the event of an incident. And with Cardinus who are a global risk and safety partner for Fleet Risk Management services. For more information on how we can help you and your fleet if you are reviewing your fleet insurance at this time do get in touch with us on 020 8290 9099 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.